The Prince’s Regeneration Trust and Burgess Dorling and Leigh Ltd are delighted to announce that the Trust’s subsidiary, the United Kingdom Historic Building Preservation Trust (UKHBPT) has acquired the Middleport Pottery site in Stoke-on-Trent.
The Prince's Regeneration Trust will undertake a £7.5 Million project to regenerate the site. Burgess Dorling & Leigh (a subsidiary of Denby Holdings), the pottery company presently based at Middleport, produces the world-renowned Burleigh brand of blue and white floral pottery Limited and has entered into an operating lease for part of the premises with the Trust.
Middleport Pottery has been at serious risk of closure which would have seen the loss of jobs and substantial buildings of historic significance would have been left to further degenerate. The Prince’s Regeneration Trust will renovate the Grade II* listed buildings, which are over 150 years old, and will lease approximately half of the site back to Burgess Dorling & Leigh for pottery production. Thus the site will continue to be used for its original industrial purpose, traditional skills will be preserved and Victorian machinery and other historical artefacts will be saved. Uniquely, it will continue to produce, using traditional techniques, the Burleigh pottery for which it was originally built in Victorian times.
The majority of the remaining buildings at Middleport will be developed, modernised and let to craft and associated businesses. This will stimulate regeneration in the area by increasing employment opportunities and attracting new business.
A major visitor and education centre, including a factory shop and cafe, will also be developed which will create jobs and through tours allow local people and visitors to learn about the history and inner workings of one of the last Victorian potteries in Britain.
This project has been made possible through funding from English Heritage, the Regional Growth Fund, the Heritage Lottery Fund and several substantial private donations with significant support from Pinsent Masons and others.
Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of The Prince’s Regeneration Trust said:
“We are delighted to be acquiring the last working Victorian pottery in the UK and to be able to both regenerate the buildings and help preserve world-respected production processes and skills at the pottery. We are very excited about the prospects for employees, suppliers and the local community as a result of this.
Through heritage-led regeneration, The Prince’s Regeneration Trust will help create a centre of excellence for British ceramics and crafts at Middleport. We will create further jobs at Middleport by restoring the current buildings and developing the site to create new space for craft businesses, and a visitor destination... We thank all our public sector and private funders for their tremendous support and investment in helping make this happen.”
Garry Biggs, Managing Director of Denby Potteries Limited, said:
“My colleagues and I greatly welcome this investment to regenerate the historic Middleport Pottery building. This investment will not only ensure that its unique skills, still in use on this site, are preserved for future generations; it also enables us to continue the business turnaround since Denby bought Burleigh pottery last year.”
Joan Walley MP, Stoke-on-Trent North said:
“The Prince's Regeneration Trust has shown absolute commitment and resilience over many, many months to make this happen. This is the best news for Stoke-on-Trent, at long last we have the right result for the employees, suppliers and the Middleport and Stoke-on-Trent area. We have both local jobs and this wonderful building saved. I intend continuing to work with The Prince's Regeneration Trust to ensure the project progresses and succeeds to the benefit of everyone in our community.”